Hello All, as I write, it is Saturday 14 November 2020, and I am at the aircraft, the compressor running and the team hard at work.
Recent events: The RCA, a member of the Aviation Museum National Network, took part in the AGM last Saturday via Zoom. Several interesting matters emerged, not least the effect on Museum business activity and restoration work that the Virus has had, but all groups are pressing on. An Australia-wide ‘Museum Trail’ is being developed with location and contact details of the member aviation museums – I will forward a copy when it is finalised. RAAF History and Heritage gave a run down on their activities over the 2020 period and the impending 2021 Centenary of the RAAF. Air Force Centenary events have been scaled right back, with only one major celebration to be held in Canberra, at a date to be advised.
There have been numerous visitors to the aircraft, a worthwhile activity that raises our profile and spreads word of what we are doing. Two groups in are worthy of a mention.
The first a group of twenty-seven yachties from the Lake Mac Yacht Club Cruising Division. After a night spent on the calm waters of Kilaben Bay in the morning the group walked to the aircraft. RCA provided morning tea and with the group split into 3 they were given a tour of the site. It was a great morning with interesting and interested people.
October also saw a visit from the ‘Fortress Newcastle’ group. Fortress Newcastle members are documenting the numerous WW2 sites in Newcastle and the lower Hunter. They were particularly interested in the RAAF Base Rathmines and the Wangi Point Gun Emplacement. RCA will continue to work with them, documenting sites and raising the profile of the role the area played during the war.
Joy Air Australia, is now operational and offering scenic flights over Lake Macquarie.
It is great to see such a dynamic new tourism business and we look forward to the day when the Catalina Heritage Centre is on the Joy Air itinerary. This could be a great addition to the Christmas gift list.
Christmas is not far away, and I am making a shameless plug for our website shop - see rathmines-catalina.com. I am sure there is an item there someone would dearly love to see under the Christmas tree so check out the site. Our exclusive Catalina themed cards are on special - pack of six for $5 plus post, blank inside they are suitable for all occasions. We have an amazing selection of books and they would fit well in one of our tote bags
Progress with Rathmines Park
Patience is a word I have come to know very well! A few dot points might be best.
- The Rathmines Catalina Heritage Centre Feasibility Assessment and Business Plan Final Draft (Rathmines CHC BP) was submitted to Council in May 2020; substantial document produced inhouse by our Secretary and Treasurer. It was well received by an external expert reviewer, a business consultant and Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd (Qantas Museum) Board Member. The current draft is greatly enhanced by Charles Martin’s conceptual artwork. As a draft it is not available for issue, however copies are available for perusal at the aircraft.
- Council’s Rathmines Park Plan of Management was ratified on 26 October 2020. Prior to the meeting I addressed councillors on our proposal. Support for the Rathmines Catalina Heritage Centre (Rathmines CHC) was unanimous with all councillors supporting a request for a regular update on the progress of the Rathmines CHC.
- While we had hoped to have the DA underway, Council staff were adamant the Park Plan had to be ratified (patience) first.
- Following this, Council staff insisted on an external review of the Rathmines CHC BP, we are expecting that review to be completed by late December (patience!).
- RCA will work with the external consultant to ensure any perceived issues are addressed.
- Three LMCC councillors visited the aircraft on Saturday Oct 31st and we accompanied them for an inspection of the Park. The discussions with all councillors have been very encouraging.
- That said, it does seem that progress is being stymied by a series of ongoing hurdles, created by Council processes.
- We will stay the course for as this picture shows Our Girl is really in need of a home.
Funding: Our Association is in a very sound position on a month to month basis, but funding of the Rathmines CHC must be met via government grants and donations. Having DGR status provides us with a huge benefit. With certainty around the delivery of the Rathmines CHC we will be calling on assistance and support from all our members.
As always, if you have any questions, please give me a call.
Lastly after what has been a most unusual year, on behalf of the Committee and the Restoration Team, I wish you and yours an inspirational Christmas and 2021.
Bill m: 0418770400 e: firstname.lastname@example.org